Nate Frankoski, left, and Mike Buonaiuto are biking 3,700 miles from Boca Raton, Fla., to Los Angeles to raise money for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. (Jill McLaughlin Photo)
Two Florida men dressed in colorful body tights are on a cross-country mission to save “boobies.”
Mike Buonaiuto and Nate Frankoski are peddling their way across the southern U.S. to raise money for breast cancer research and stopped to take a break in Roswell Thursday.
They left Boca Raton, Fla., Aug. 24, and hope to finish their 75-day trek in Los Angeles, Nov. 3.
“We plan on being on the Ellen DeGeneres show,” Frankoski said. “We would like to dance with Ellen.”
They’ve named their fundraising journey, “Biking for Boobies.” All monies earned from the 3,700-mile trip will be made by selling T-shirts online from their bikingforboobies.com website.
The two created the charity themselves, but will donate all proceeds to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. It will be their second year trekking across states for a good cause. Last year, they traveled from Key West, Fla., to Toronto and raised $10,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.
“With very low overhead, we can give more money to research,” Buonaiuto said.
Though their daily adventures are filled with 50 to 75 miles of travel, the two are full of positive energy about their goal. They hope to raise $37,000 for the foundation.
“The reason we picked breast cancer was we both had a friend who was personally affected by it,” Frankoski said.
Their friend, Christina Valentine, 23, was pregnant and diagnosed with cancerous lumps in her breast. She underwent chemotherapy treatment and a partial lumpectomy while pregnant, but was able to give birth to a healthy baby.
“She fought through it and she’s a four-year survivor now,” Frankoski said.
Next year, they are planning to either bike up or down the Mississippi River.
“I think it’s going to be for St. Jude’s (Chidlren’s Research Hospital),” Buonaiuto said.
So far, this year’s journey has provided several memorable moments.
They’ve found many opportunities to meet interesting people along the way and usually find an opportunity to eat a local dining establishments.
“We’ve also attended a cancer benefit in Englewood, Fla.,” Frankoski said. “The restaurant we were eating at that night donated a meat to us. At the same time, serendipitously, we walked into a room and 200 people stood up and clapped.”
The restaurant was hosting a cancer foundation dinner that night, Frankoski said.
“We met a lot of women battling cancer,” he said.
They have also been given complimentary meals at renowned restaurants in cities along the way, they said. But, they’ve also had to eat pre-packaged military food.
At night, the two stay with people who participate in “couch surfing,” which involves a network of some 1.5 million people who let travelers stay at their homes at no price.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, the people are really cool,” Frankoski said. “The good outweighs the bad. When you’re 80 miles on your bike one day, you could actually crash anywhere.”
They’ve stayed on guest beds, air mattresses or sometimes on the couch. They never know what’s in store for them, until they arrive at the location.
“I haven’t been jaded by couch surfing,” Buonaiuto said.
They’ve also come up with creative ways to pass the time.
“We’ve shot guns to stay out of the rain,” Frankoski said. “Someone donated rounds we could use and we were able to shoot guns to stay out of the rain.”
They also swam with manatees and dolphins in Florida. Buonaiuto test drove a Harley-Davidson when they peddled past a dealership that offered free test rides.
The two planned to spend Friday in Roswell and tour the city. After that, they were headed to Ruidoso.